Youth petitions Supreme Court to ascend the Temple Mount

For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.

Sunday, June 12, 2022, 17:20 A Jewish youth who prostrated himself on the Temple Mount after the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that it is not a criminal offense has nevertheless been served with an administrative order distancing him for seven weeks from the Temple Mount and the passageways leading up to its gates. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado filed an appeal, summarized below, with the Supreme Court on behalf of the youth to cancel the order. Supreme Court Justice Ofer Grosskopf ordered the Israel Police and Jerusalem District Commander, Major-General Doron Turgeman, to respond to the petition within a week.

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “The authority to issue administrative orders is supposed to be used in extreme situations and in moderation, and the power to violate fundamental freedoms must be limited to the courts, and not granted to the police or the various security authorities. The circumstances of this case are not extreme and do not justify an administrative order. Therefore the petition is meant to both cancel the unjustified order and to be a reminder to the district commander and to the legal advisor of the Israel Police that an administrative order must not be issued when it is not necessary.”

Summary of the appeal: On May 22, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that prostrating oneself or saying the “Shema Yisrael” prayer on the Temple Mount does not constitute a basis for a criminal offense liable to violate the public peace. The following day, the appellant ascended the Temple Mount in light of an understanding that the court decision permitted Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. Likewise, in the briefing given that morning to those ascending the Temple Mount, unlike in the briefings given on previous mornings, the policeman did not say that Jewish worship on the Temple Mount was forbidden.

The youth innocently thought that times had changed and that he could recite the “Shema Yisrael” prayer and prostrate himself on the Temple Mount. Based on the decision by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court and the omission of the prohibition of worship from the morning briefing, the appellant realized his religious wishes and prostrated himself, legally according to his understanding, on the Temple Mount.

By not detaining the youth, the policemen’s actions indicated that they did not know what the legal status of the Temple Mount was that morning. This is evidence that the command staff also did not know if in light of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court decision there was a prohibition against Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. Accordingly, the command staff took the route bypassing criminal charges and conducted an administrative hearing.”

Because of the decision by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, it is clear that the appellant was distanced from the Temple Mount by an administrative order and not by a criminal order. Now that the Jerusalem District Court has overturned the Jerusalem Magistrates Court’s decision, there is no longer any justification for maintaining the administrative proceedings. Additionally, the appellant does not pose a danger, not in general and not in light of the prostration that constituted the grounds for issuing the order. He is also not expected to pose danger in the future. The appellant repeatedly declared that he does not intend to violate the law and that he understands the decision by the Jerusalem District Court. Moreover, in the distant past, we saw that many Jews prostrated themselves on the Temple Mount, without the act leading in and of itself to a severe violation of public security, and here there is a declaration of intent to follow the law from a law-abiding individual without any criminal convictions.

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